Social Exchange and Reciprocal Integration between Migrants and Locals at Work

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The negative discourse surrounding migration today often stems from a perception that migrants are a ‘burden’ to local communities, ‘getting’ more than they ‘give’. We propose a novel approach to theorizing migrant integration by developing a social exchange framework on the relation between migrants and locals in the workplace. The workplace is a critical space, because successful and meaningful employment is the single most important determinant of migrants’ overall contributions to society, and positive informal relations among colleagues support workplace performance. Reciprocal integration is defined as the process through which everyday voluntary exchange interactions between migrants and locals, which are returned in kind or paid forward, accumulate. Examples would be the continual exchange of favors, information, birthday wishes, and invitations to dinner among colleagues in acts that are not mere professional obligations, but are voluntary as well as mutually rewarding and corresponding over time. These small interpersonal episodes between migrants and locals enhance social cohesion at the workplace. Considering the role of power, status, and culture in exchange, we develop a set of propositions that detail how the process of reciprocal integration might unfold.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-First Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonia Taneja
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2021
Article number71
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021: Bringing the Manager Back in Management - Online, Virtual, Online
Duration: 29 Jul 20214 Aug 2021
Conference number: 81


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings


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